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In an astonishing discovery that could rewrite the history of human evolution, scientists said they have found the skeleton of a new human species, a dwarf, marooned for eons in a tropical Lost World while modern man rapidly colonized the rest of the planet.

 

The finding on a remote Indonesian island has stunned anthropologists like no other in recent memory. It is a fundamentally new creature that bears more of a resemblance to fictional, barefooted hobbits than modern humans.

 

Yet biologically speaking, it may have been closely related to us and perhaps even shared its caves with our ancestors.

 

The three-foot-tall adult female skeleton found in a cave is believed to be 18,000 years old. It smashes the long-cherished scientific belief our species, Homo sapiens, systematically crowded out other upright-walking human cousins beginning 160,000 years ago and we've had Earth to ourselves for tens of thousands of years.

 

Instead, it suggests recent evolution was more complex than previously thought.

 

And it demonstrates Africa, the acknowledged cradle of humanity, does not hold all the answers to persistent questions of how - and where - we came to be.

 

"This finding really does rewrite our knowledge of human evolution," said Chris Stringer, who directs human origins studies at the Natural History Museum in London.

 

"And to have them present less than 20,000 years ago is frankly astonishing."

 

Scientists called the dwarf skeleton "the most extreme" figure to be included in the extended human family. Certainly, she is the shortest.

 

[...]

 

Scientists have named the extinct species Homo floresiensis, or Flores Man, and details appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

 

The specimens' ages range from 95,000 to 12,000 years, meaning they lived until the threshold of recorded human history and perhaps crossed paths with the ancestors of today's islanders.

 

Flores Man was hardly formidable. His grapefruit-sized brain was two-thirds smaller than ours and closer to the brains of today's chimpanzees and transitional prehuman species in Africa that vanished two million years ago.

 

Yet Flores Man made stone tools, lit fires and organized group hunts for meat. Bones of fish, birds and rodents found near the skeleton were charred, suggesting they were cooked.

 

All this suggests Flores Man lived communally and communicated effectively, perhaps even verbally.

 

[...]

 

Older stone tools and other artifacts previously found on the island suggest Flores Man is part of a substantial archaic human lineage.

 

"So the 18,000-year-old skeleton cannot be some kind of 'freak' that we just happened to stumble across," said one of the discoverers, radiocarbon dating expert Richard Roberts of the University of Wollongong in Australia.

 

But the environment in which Flores Man lived was indeed peculiar, and scientists said it probably contributed to the specimen's unusually small dimensions.

 

Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life Middle-Earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastic creatures like giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting dogs.

 

It even had a dragon, although they were giant lizards like today's carnivorous Komodo dragons, rather than the treasure-hoarding Smaug described by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien in his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

Artifacts suggest a big-boned human cousin, Homo erectus, migrated from Java to Flores and other islands, perhaps by bamboo raft, nearly one million years ago.

 

Researchers suspect Flores Man probably is an H. erectus descendant that was squeezed by the pressures of natural selection.

 

Nature is full of mammals - deer, squirrels and pigs, for example - living in marginal, isolated environments that gradually dwarf when food isn't plentiful and predators aren't threatening.

 

This is the first time the evolution of dwarfism has been recorded in a human relative, said the study's lead author, Peter Brown of the University of New England in Australia. Just how this primitive, remnant species managed to hang on is uncertain. Inbreeding certainly would've been a danger. Geologic evidence suggests a massive volcanic eruption sealed its fate some 12,000 years ago, along with other unusual island species like the dwarf elephant species, stegodon.

 

[...]

 

Even more speculative is whether Flores Man met with modern humans and what might've happened.

 

Folklore experts have reported persistent legends of little people living on Flores and nearby islands. Islanders called the creature Ebu Gogo and say it was about three feet tall.

 

Clicky fr more

 

 

o_o;

 

 

 

All I have to say about this is..... I WANT ONE.

 

Oh and.... BRING ON THE ELVES! :naughty:

 

Elf booty got soul.

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That is incredible. Rewrites the whole bloody evoloution theory...

 

Also, my friends jokingly call me a hobbit due to sideburns (they reach down past my temples to jaws) and a general resemblance to them in height, weight, and weird feet. Now I can tell them, 'there are real hobbits! In your face!'

 

:D - cool find

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OK, wait. I honestly don't believe this is real. I had a hunch when reading, but the descriptions of the animals and the constant references to Middle-Earth...

 

Just, I fail to believe if this is true. I mean, they've found only ONE skele! There are short-heighted guys in our world, so it must have been in theirs!

 

Nope, ain't fooling me!

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I think after all the scientific studies they put the bones through, I think they're sure it's not your average midget. :dozey:

I coulda sworn I heard about something like this about 2 years ago.... <_<

or maybe I'm psychic :eek:

 

anyway, saw this study a few days ago, and someone posted it in the senate too :o

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Originally posted by InsaneSith

I think after all the scientific studies they put the bones through, I think they're sure it's not your average midget. :dozey:

 

Alright, good.

 

Now think:

A few scientist guys find a complete skeleton of a seemingly hobbit-like human.

Fact.

These scientists think they uncovered something big, only to realise that it is a normal, midget who is apparently not buried yesterday in your backyard.

Next? They decide to tell a big-time hoax that they uncovered a "hobbit" skeleton and refer their studies to Middle-Earth and cook up a tangy, exotic, yet curious story. The world is shaken and the scientists laugh their ass off.

What tells them that there were others who were of her height? Nothing. They have one midget skeleton and "stuff" that tells them what it was in their world, like the Mirror of Galadriel.

 

It is totally a hoax, either created by scientists or people pretending to be scientists.

 

Even if it is real, it wouldn't be a big deal, since you get all sorts of weird species of Human beings. Check Ripley's and be amazed.

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Actually, several skeletons were found. Also, these are not midgets because the skulls are only capable of holding a brain the size of a grapefruit. As you no doubt know, midgets have heads with the same brain capacity as normal humans. The interesting thing about the find is that these small-brained humans were apparently capable of creating and using tools, due to the finding of such at the dig site.

 

The theory that I've heard explained on NPR, is that often, mammals, when in an environment of scarce food, will often evolve into a miniaturized state. Which makes sense given that those that can survive on less food will be more likely to procreate, thereby passing on their genes. A smaller animal will reuqire less food to sustain itself than a large animal.

 

Anyway, I find the whole thing very fascinating.

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Originally posted by jedijohn

interesting but i'm inclined to agree with sabre: it's a hoax

 

its been on nearly every news channel, and in every paper... and i think scientists have been studying it for months... so i think it is pretty unlikely it is a hoax...

 

in theory, if you believe in evolution, then this makes sense... there would have to have been several different species of human that evolved (like any other creature) and then the most efficient one survived and the others died out...

 

I reckon it shows that tolkien's creation theory is a good as any... :D:p

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I agree with Vagabond!

 

if there are SEVERAL skeletons found, and the fact that they have smaller brain capacity,, yet they were STILL able to make tools, I say its NOT a hoax!

 

Can you BELEIVE there are STILL people out there who DON"T want to except the Evolution theory!!! It's proof all around us!

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Originally posted by Vagabond

The theory that I've heard explained on NPR, is that often, mammals, when in an environment of scarce food, will often evolve into a miniaturized state. Which makes sense given that those that can survive on less food will be more likely to procreate, thereby passing on their genes. A smaller animal will reuqire less food to sustain itself than a large animal.

 

Anyway, I find the whole thing very fascinating.

 

 

I've known about this since forever, and it's hardly theory. Whenever you get tiny, isolated landmasses for enough span of time, this is what you get. It happens. Why not to human as well? :)

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Originally posted by Vagabond The theory that I've heard explained on NPR, is that often, mammals, when in an environment of scarce food, will often evolve into a miniaturized state. Which makes sense given that those that can survive on less food will be more likely to procreate, thereby passing on their genes. A smaller animal will reuqire less food to sustain itself than a large animal.

 

Anyway, I find the whole thing very fascinating.

 

I ditto that. It also serves to highlight that many myths and legends have some basis in fact.

 

It also begs the question - if we decimate the world's resources and basically turn it into vast tracts of desert, will we all eventually shrink to a couple of feet in height - or even return to being the rodent-like mammals from which we originally (according to theory) evolved?

 

Is evolution, in fact, simply the capacity for any animal to adapt to change - and could we eventually lose our capacity for 'intelligence' as we revert to lower forms of life that might be more successful in a hostile environment?

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Originally posted by Sabretooth

OK, wait. I honestly don't believe this is real. I had a hunch when reading, but the descriptions of the animals and the constant references to Middle-Earth..

The bones exists, havent you seen them on TV or newspapers? Also the freakys of LOTR have started saying that they are hobbits but they'd be like a monkey

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Originally posted by LukeKatarn

I think it might be true, but not related to a human. .

 

So the fact that it walked upright, was similar in the build of humans, built tools and fire, and probably even cooked it's food (the last three being things that ONLY humans do currently) doesn't imply a relation to humans?

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